An advanced settlement and independent city-state, Delphi was the primary and most distinguished sacred site in Ancient Greece. Located in central Greece, Delphi was built atop of Mount Parnassos. Believed to have been designated the “center of the world” by Zeus, it was a considerably important place for the citizens of ancient Greece.
Delphi had great economic and political influence over ancient Greece. This is because it was the location of the Oracle, a special individual who provided divine counsel and wisdom to visitors. In addition, Delphi was the authority on providing clearance for new settlements in surrounding areas.
In Greek Mythology, Delphi is associated with the goddess Gaea who sent her daughter Themis there to be her messenger. Themis is known for establishing laws of justice and passing her role as the Oracle onto her sister Phoebe. Eventually, Apollo, the grandson of Themis, would slay the draconian monster known as Python at Delphi. Recognized as a hero by civilians, a shrine was built in his honor. Then, he appointed Pythia to the position of Oracle. It is said that Pythia inhaled methane gas from the beneath Apollo’s temple, which caused her to hallucinate. Pythia’s words were then interpreted as being prophetic.
In addition to Apollo’s temple, the ancient theatre was of great significance to the people of Delphi. Built on a slope, the theatre offered a view of the settlement that dwelled below. Other important sites included the stadium where Apollo defeated Python, the Temple of Athena, and the Athenian treasury.
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